A 60th birthday demands some special fanfare, so when "Hook Shots" host Joe Cermele's dad turned the big 6-0, a trip to the Bahamas was in order. What else could commemorate such a milestone birthday than tuna, dolphin, bonefish and lots of island rum? Not only was the fishing outstanding, but the company was even better. Oh, and there's a lot of stone-busting going on during this trip. Kids, don't wait for dad to take you fishing...take him sometimes.
The Deal: Green Turtle Cay is located just off Abaco Island in the Bahamas, and is accessible by ferry. If you only care about fishing (not casinos and nightclubs and high-rise resorts), this is your island. Tiny and secluded, Green Turtle is the perfect place for anglers looking to really get lost. Not only is the flats and offshore fishing superb, but the people are beyond friendly and the small town of New Plymouth offers a quaint, relaxed setting with plenty of local flare...and local bars that don't skimp on the rum in their drinks.
When to Go: Barring January and February when temperatures can dip into the low 50s, there is nary a wrong time to visit Green Turtle Cay. Bonefish guide Rick Sawyer points to the spring and fall months as the best for gray ghosts. June and July are good, but August and September find bones skittish and in deeper water because of the heat. As for offshore, the late summer also sees a slow-up in action, but blackfin and yellowfin tuna, wahoo, dolphin, and billfish are always lurking the depths.
What to Bring: If offshore fishing is your game, local guides have all the tackle for trolling. However, they don't always have light spinning gear. Bring a travel rod if you have one, because if blackfin tuna erupt on the surface, you'll want a light outfit that can really launch a jig to busting schools. Seven- and eight-weight fly rods get the nod for bones, with floating line a 10- to 16-pound tippets getting the job done. Oh, and don't forget your polarized shades.
How/Where to Fish: Unless you are running your own boat over to Green Turtle Cay from Florida, you're going to be leaning on guides. Luckily, they know exactly where all the offshore drops happen to be, and rely heavily on naked ballyhoo baits and cedar plugs to entice denizens of the deep. How and where you chase bonefish depends on the time of year you visit, but if you go in late summer, expect the best shots in skinny water early, then get ready to work for fish in slightly deeper water.
Where to Stay/Guides: On an island as small as Green Turtle, you don't have many lodging options...motels do not abound. If you're going to make the effort to get there, you probably don't want to rough it. Check out The Green Turtle Club and Marina. It's the finest accommodations on the Cay. As for guides, Captain Rick Sawyer will bust his butt to get you tied into bonefish regardless of skill level, and Captain Eddie Bodie is the man to see for shots at mondo Bahamian pelagic species.